The old saying informs us that there’s no rest for the wicked, but even the writers here at Hot Air need a day off now and again, and Independence Day is such an occasion. But as you prepare for parades, family reunions, BBQs, or whatever else you may have planned, let’s revisit a few important words in a blast from the past.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. — That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, — That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”
For those who grew up in an America that has been a superpower for their entire lives, as well as a beacon of freedom and opportunity, it’s easy to lose sight of the reality the colonists faced all those years ago. They labored under oppressive tyranny. They were divided, even among themselves, with some loyalists insisting they should remain under the protective cloak of England And when they did finally declare their independence, sparking the Revolutionary War, they were hardly the betting man’s favorite. They were short on weapons, supplies, and troops. They faced an opponent with the most powerful navy in the world and well equipped, battle-tested troops. Our army, such as it was, had been hastily assembled and was composed largely of farmers and laborers who had seldom if ever fired a weapon in anger.
And yet, somehow, we won. The cost of our freedom was steep. The price we’ve paid to keep it in later wars has been steeper. And yet here we are, still standing. Let’s not lose sight of that, even as we debate the country’s future among ourselves. Living in America is a privilege. Let’s all treat it as such.